Environment and Climate Change


© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-2982/Shehzad Noorani
Pakistan, 2010: A boy runs on a flood damaged sugarcane field in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province

The fulfillment of children’s rights to health, safe water and sanitation, education and economic development is often influenced by their accessibility to natural resources and stable environmental and climactic conditions.

However, in 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented its findings, reaffirming that climate change is becoming a potent driver of increased risk in the form of extreme weather events and through slower-moving phenomena such as resource degradation and the erosion of territories and livelihoods.  Large-scale humanitarian impacts are expected as water and food security deteriorate, floods and storms lay waste to cities and essential infrastructure, and people are displaced. Children, as ever, will be in the eye of the storm.

Furthermore, failure to protect children from the effects of  climate change will hinder the world’s progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGClimate-related hazards are documented to be on the upswing, accounting for 70% of all disasters, up from around 50% from two decades agos). According to the Human Development Report 2011, environmental deterioration threatens to reverse recent progress in human development for the world’s poorest, increasing inequalities within and across countries.

“And the burden of climate-related hazards is not borne equally: the risk of injury and death from floods, high winds and landslides is higher among children, women and the elderly, especially for the poor. The striking gender inequality of natural disasters suggests that inequalities in exposure —as well as in access to resources, capabilities and opportunities—systematically disadvantage some women and girls by making them more vulnerable.” 1

Immediate and sustained action is required to stop climate change if irreversible and potentially catastrophic damages are to be avoided.  Action is required by all, including children and youth.


UNite for Climate! video - Child Rights and Climate Change: Your World, Your Voice, Your Future! 

Produced for young people in collaboration with the UNICEF Education for Development network




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Case Study - Climate Change Adaptation Programme in Nigeria
A UNICEF Perspective


These publications provide more climate change information:

Climate change and education publications

The Human Development Report 2011 (UNDP) - Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)- Climate Change Science Compendium 2009

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Climate Change 2007: Fourth Assessment Report

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